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Mental Judgments

If you look closely at the workings of your mind, you will probably notice that for everything you see or know in your world, along with having a name to label it, you have a judgment about it - formed from a connection from the past or to the anticipated future, an association with something similar, and the like. Each of those judgments is associated with a feeling, positive or negative. All of this mental processing usually goes on in a split second, completely out of our awareness.

We are not suggesting that you become soft in your head, taking everything as the same. Judgment or distinction making is a precious function of your mind. There really are differences among things. Some things, like carrots, are generally good to eat. Other things, like arsenic, are not good to eat. But if you are allergic to carrots, they are not good to eat either. What we are pointing to is the tendency to separate the world into categories of good and bad based on our own views of things, and to label others as less worthy or less good than we are, because they don't abide by the same opinions. When presented with two options, most people unthinkingly take the option that will further their own immediate survival or satisfaction.

Rather than striving to eliminate your judging mind - an accomplishment to which followers of many spiritual disciplines aspire, but few attain - see if you can separate yourself from your judgment. This means that you first have to catch yourself judging" and then watch that judgment without acting on it in any way. You don't move toward it or away from it. You don't talk about it or deny it. You don't berate yourself for it or congratulate yourself about it. You simply note it: "Ah, judging is happening." You are, in that moment, taking a step back from totally identifying with your thoughts, simply noting that judgmental thoughts are passing through your mind. When it comes time to act, you make your decision clearly, without being pressured by your identifications. You simply choose what seems like the most beneficial "right" thing to do in the moment.

Black-and-white thinking is a variation on the right/wrong" theme. No shades of gray are allowed in this world. A person is either a demon or an angel. Period. Can you see what an irrational belief system this supports? Look around you and see it in operation.

Once our automatic judgments are seen for what they are - usually habits or associations from long ago, not based on the genuine needs of the moment - they cease to have full power over us. We free up energy to be used for other things - things that lead us in a direction we consciously or intuitively choose.

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